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Deception (Ozanich) & Progress/Struggles

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by jessedas, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. jessedas

    jessedas Peer Supporter

    Hi guys,

    It's been some time since I've posted, so I wanted to revisit. In the summer of 2014 I did the Structured Educational Program. I've also seen a therapist this year for about 10 months now (clinical psychology). So I've been at this for awhile. The pain has been manageable but not great. I've not had a severe muscle spasm since having read Sarno that first time in 2013 I believe it was..although the chronic lingering pain still exists in its ups and downs, and I'm unable to really go hardcore at driving or using the computer.

    Steve Ozanich, in his book states this:
    "You need to begin exhausting yourself physically - not mentally. Anxiety results from repression, which is held in the body as energy, an overdose of negative energy. Burn your tension away by staying in motion. Sitting at a desk and stressing out on a job is not what nature intended humans to do. Take the lead and get up and do something you love!"

    What I love doing is designing, thinking and innovating. All of which, in this day and age, take a great deal of time in front of a computer especially if it's a career goal. I enjoy reading Steve's book and it's been great all the way through (highly humorous at times too, suggesting to us not to take things so seriously). That quote is on page 196, which is where I'm at in the book. I have picked up on this undertone in the book however a few times, suggesting that movement is just as much of a key as the typical TMS methodologies, and that quote is a good example. I fear not when it comes to moving. I can ride my mountain bike, I can swim, I can stretch and do yoga. I just don't do those things that often because I was under the impression that the pain was not structural/physical, but psychologically rooted. I've only ever had an issue with exactly what he suggests us not to do (sit at the computer all day). Sitting at a computer or sitting in a car (neck pain or back pain causing, respectively). I also have trouble getting over the forward-neck-position theories involved with the computer and the 12lbs, 32, 42 lbs difference that it makes the farther you put your head forward. As well as the shrugged shoulders tight trapezius. It seems to me that, if there's a mind body connection, there's also a body mind connection. There's been studies performed that suggest that holding a strong superman/woman pose for a few minutes increases testosterone levels, and is effective for job interviews etc, as one example.

    There just seems to be a slight amount of hypocrisy going on (or that's how I've perceived) if we're suggesting that people can't just sit on their lazy arses and use the computer all day and not be in any pain. Maybe I'm understanding this wrong, and I'm fully aware that might be the case. I'm looking for solutions that are pragmatic, and by my going at the TMS theories for 3 years now, and seeing only some improvement, means I'm either not trying hard enough or it's only part of the equation. I do believe that tension, stress and anxiety make up a large body of my pain - and for that I am looking for ways in which I can reduce those things, including hopefully visiting a Dr. Emitt Miller as someone Steve has seen himself. I'm also possibly interested in seeing a psychical therapist who specializes in myofascial release and muscle energy techniques. I'm working with a life coach, improving my outlook and smiling more, standing up straight and keeping my chin up. These three approaches seem like a integral approach to alleviating my pain from all sides, but counter intuitive to Sarno suggestions (but not so much, to Steve's as per that quote). Especially the physical therapist. Any thoughts?

    Also, what does one do if they tend to be agnostic by nature.

    My goal is to be pain free, happy and free. Blessings to all of you wonderful souls helping on the mindbody front. Many thanks
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jessedas,
    I am not sure I understand your concern or question. Can you please re-state?
    Andy B.
    jessedas likes this.
  3. jessedas

    jessedas Peer Supporter

    Hi Andy,
    First, thank you for the reply! I'll do my best to try and word my question better.
    From what I've gathered, hearing Steve's story, he beat TMS by doing the activities that caused him pain. Most of which (if I'm not mistaken) are exercise related, like golfing that he keeps mentioning. He says in the above quote, that movement is very important, "You need to begin exhausting yourself physically - not mentally" and "Burn your tension away by staying in motion." This is the antitheses to what is stated by Sarno, that posture and exercise have nothing to do with the pain. We need to exercise, in order to stay healthy for other reasons, but theoretically I could go without exercise for 6 months and sit and work on the computer the entire time and, given I've fully accepted the TMS diagnosis, I would be in no pain. This however hasn't been the case for me. I've had a decent amount of pain reduction (especially after the initial book I read), but my triggers are computer related, and driving. So I would have to do exactly what Steve is saying not to do "Sitting at a desk and stressing out on a job is not what nature intended humans to do." in order to get through those triggers. The other issue is if I exercise there's always a voice in my head that says stuff like "your just doing this in an attempt to relieve the pain", even though going in I was just trying to be healthy and get exercise. The reasoning is that the lack of exercise doesn't cause pain, repressed emotions does, but we still somehow have to exercise just to be healthy. It becomes a very tricky situation for me. So I am looking for clarification on the above stated and any recommendations on how to clear up this logical conundrum I seem to be in.

    I hope this, with a possible rereading of my initial post, helps clarify it. I appreciate your insight, many thanks.
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi jessedas,
    I see your question more clearly , and your perceived dilemma.

    First, let me say that the obvious overlap of both Dr. Sarno's and Steve's approach is that there is nothing physically wrong. Steve's approach to refute the "physical thinking" as the source of the pain is to "get more physical" ---show your body-mind that you know nothing is bothering you in the physical realm, so you push through all pain barriers with physical exercise, particularly in areas that are triggering pain. I also get that he is saying that physical work relieves tension and stress, which I think we can all relate to.

    Dr. Sarno recommended that you "return to normal activities" as the pain subsides. Steve's method of Herculean pushing through is not exactly a Dr. Sarno approach. It is a variation I suppose.

    And I get your question, as per using Steve's approach, just sitting ---which is what causes you pain--- does not seem to match Steve's approach. I do recall that Steve's "last physical thing that caused me pain" was sitting. And he refuted that by sitting and having his wife beat him with a ruler to distract him. So he did apply "sitting" with his method, I believe, as something "physical" which he had associated with pain.
    Yes, according to Steve, I think you're supposed to sit there, and know that other things like stretching, posture, etc will not be the cure for your pain. In this Dr. Sarno and Steve agree completely.

    I personally used and use exercise ---in my mind, as a physical way to "refute the physical source of my pain." I figure every time I am out walking, I am sending signals to my mind-body that I am ignoring the fear and pain that might arise. I mainly do it to stay healthy and fit enough to do what I want to do in life like climb mountains and ski. But I figure it also sends a positive signal to my mind-body...

    I am not sure how you mean this

    "your just doing this in an attempt to relieve the pain"

    Do you mean that the voice is saying that you are doing this in a STEVE way to refute pain, or that you are doing it in a "physical therapy" way to reduce pain?

    In any case, there is doubt and superego activity in my opinion with that voice. That can be dismissed. Then sense into your body and understand the real reason you are doing the exercise.

    I hope this helps, and hopefully others will weigh in on this, for you. These are only my opinions and interpretations of others' work. My own approach is more to work with the superego and self-empathy, and add the physical when you can. Each person finds their own specific way (though the ways are all similar, just as we are similar). Good luck in this, and don't give up! Don't let your mind put you in a tangle! You know the intention you have, and the knowledge you have.

    Andy B.
    jessedas likes this.
  5. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    I cant add anymore than Andy but it also sounds you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to heal which is understandable.

    You maybe working a little to hard sometimes a break from tms healing is required
    jessedas likes this.
  6. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    any word from @Steve Ozanich when his audiobook version will be ready?

    its a really great reference tool
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  7. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    What I'm not hearing in this discussion is any mention of the emotional issues that are the root cause of TMS pain. TMS pain symptoms are caused by repressed rage. Here's the R-H list of emotionally stressful life situations causing TMS/psychosomatic pain:



    You have to "think psychological" when you feel the pain and deal with the emotional issues head on, otherwise they flow into the reservoir of rage to become TMS symptoms. You can sit all day and become "stiff" but that should not be "pain". You need to get some exercise to have a balanced life. For me that's a minimum of thirty minutes a day of aerobic: walking, running, swimming, etc. Yogis do the asanas to prepare to meditate/sit. I recall hearing about the head of the Berkeley Zen Center having back pain--maybe she needed to do more asanas.

    Have you identified the emotional issues that are the cause of the TMS symptoms?

  8. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    Excellent as always TT
    jessedas likes this.
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with the responses above. But also remember that TMS strikes us where it will distract us the most. If you care a lot about the work you do sitting at a computer, then it will make sitting painful, or RSI develops. If you care a lot about playing golf, then playing golf will be painful. That's why TMS manifests so differently in all of us, as we all are different in what would be most distracting.
    jessedas and JanAtheCPA like this.
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    And in addition to these great replies, my take on your situation, Jesse, is that rather than not trying hard enough, you may be trying too hard to perfectly understand and intellectualize the process - which is not at all unusual amongst us perfectionist types. Doing this could be your brain distracting you from going deeper, as Tom has suggested.

    Another part of the equation is the process of memorized pain - laying down pathways of pain which your brain gets used to. You know how hard it is to brush your teeth with your other hand? It's the same with this process of pain that has no physiological basis. It may have had a basis at some time in the past, but your primitive brain took advantage of that and continued to create pain in order to distract you. It sounds like it's still doing a good job of that - in other words, it's become a habit, like brushing your teeth with just one hand.

    When I read Steve O's description of how he fought his way through his pain, I actually decided that what he was doing was exchanging one distraction for another. I expect that the reason it worked for him is that it broke those old memorized pathways. And I think his super-physical method will certainly work for a lot of people. But probably not for you. The wonderfully annoying and fascinating thing about TMS is that it manifests differently for everyone. Steve's method isn't even close to what worked for me, but the value for me in reading his book was the clear realization that there are many different ways to do this work, that one size does NOT fit all.

    Consider whether you might work on finding your own way to change this pain habit, and replace it with something else. And perhaps also to stop intellectualizing and start feeling and experiencing much more deeply. A mindfulness practice might help.

    You've already come a long way, so this is totally doable!
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  11. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jessedas, I think SteveO want to tell his readers that we need to over come our FEAR of our symptoms. Exercise until he is exhaust to prove to his mind that he is not afraid of the pain. He want to show his mind that the pain's distraction job is not working anymore.
    Doctor Sarno's distraction theory only work if we fear our tms symptoms. Without FEAR distraction don't work and symptoms will leave or move around to create new fear. In your case if you fear sitting will cause pain then it will. The distraction is working because you're afraid. Your fear emotion help your body produce more and more stress hormones and trigger chronic Fight of flight respond. Those are fuel for tms/anxiety symptoms. Without fear the symptoms will run out of fuel and will cease to exist.
  12. jessedas

    jessedas Peer Supporter

    Thanks everyone for your responses! This is giving me a lot to think about.
    You've answered my questions quite well. Specifically, the idea of golf was fearful for Steve and thus the higher trigger for pain. My triggers are just different.
    How does one deal with the fear though? I'll admit, historically sitting at the computer at night with my headphones on typically causes 3 days of a hangover feeling with subsequent neck pain and headaches. Do I just keep going at it? I don't know if I have that kind of will power to face it in that way to be honest.

    JanAthe your response about pain memory and habits are super helpful. I think this is something I would like to look into, if I can figure out a good replacement habit or two, acquiring new habits to replace the old pain ones. Thanks Balto for your comments about Fear, there's still some residual fear left and importance placed on my computer/career issue which I have not found a solution for. I'm still afraid, there's no two ways about it. It's funny I actually welcome back pain over neck pain and find myself trying to subtly hurt my back (using the old back hurting triggers) because I know the pain will move from my neck to my lower back and that pain is one I can handle.
    I think I'll start by utilizing meditation and some mantras to quiet all of the distractions and debates going on in my head. I really appreciate everyone's feedback and insights. Also moving forward try to take it less seriously.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  13. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jessedas, in your case, I think your pain come on when you're using the computer or driving is due to conditioning. At first it was some negative emotion trigger/start these tms pain symptoms. Tms will often look for a weak spot in your body or the part that you use the most to attack. Over time, like Jane said, the body "memorize" and will automatically produce the pain symptoms every time you sit. This is conditioning. Pavlov's dogs salivated when they hear the bell ring. You're in pain when you sit a long time. When the dog keep hearing the bell and get no food, over time they stop salivating. If you keep sitting confidently and relax as best as you can with a mind that is as unconcern about pain as you can. Over time the condition will "extinct". It take practice and it will take time, but it is very doable.
    Exposure therapy. Keep doing what you fear and the dead of fear is certain. And when fear is dead, conditioned pain will extinct.
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  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    The symptom that I still struggle to banish is a sort of dizziness/brain fog that gets bad when I'm stressed. I've been trying to practice mindfulness the last couple of months, with a small amount of success, giving me a large amount of hope. It's not easy, because like most of us, my brain is constantly busy, but I had at least one major revelation, which is that the conversation in my brain was all about looking forward, instead of being in the present. No wonder I feel off-balance - it's like I'm constantly leaning into the future, always worried about what's next, instead being peacefully in the NOW.

    I clearly see that the dizziness occurs when I'm at my least mindful (which goes along with outside stressors) . My first gut reaction to a wave of dizziness is fear/fight/flight, but I have established the habit for several years now of being able to put a stop to that by reminding myself that it's just TMS. This is good enough to banish the fear reaction, but it's not enough to change the pattern and keep it from happening again. I realized that part of my thought process has been to assume that the dizziness would pass - sometime in the future. And I believe THAT is what allows the pattern to keep repeating.

    I'm trying really hard to immediately recognize and change the message in my brain - to recognize my automatic habit of assuming it will pass in the future, and instead to stop, clear my mind, and experience and appreciate where I am in the moment. It's like a mini-mindfulness meditation - it only takes a few seconds, and I think that it works. The problem is that it's not yet a habit, and easy to forget to do when things get a little crazy - as they have been for me recently!
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  15. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jan,
    That is a brilliant observation!
    Andy B.
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  16. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Jan. I've had dizzy spells and find that they come on when I am real angry or upset or frustrated. I immediately sit down and do some deep breathing and do what you do, remind myself it is just TMS from my emotions. The spell goes away fast. S ometimes I've even seen floaters or something in my eyes when I am angry or stressed and I do the same for them to go away... deep breathing and reminding myself it's just my emotions. My eyes clear up right away.

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